Conservatives should distance themselves from Beyak

Senator's twisted perspective on residential schools and the horrible suffering students went through should not be accepted by the party or other Canadians

Conservatives should distance themselves from BeyakCanada’s last Indian residential school closed in 1996. The residential schools experience is not ancient history. Nor was the residential school experience positive, despite comments from Conservative Sen. Lynn Beyak. It’s easy to be blasé about the topic when you’ve never been around First Nation and Metis peoples who attended these institutions. It’s easy to…

Easter 1917 marked a First World War turning point

The Canadians took Vimy Ridge and the Americans finally entered the war. But it would be folly to suggest that the U.S. won the war

Easter 1917 marked a First World War turning pointThanks to two specific First World War events, the days surrounding Easter 1917 were momentous. One of these events – the successful Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge – is often considered critical to the evolution of a distinct Canadian identity. But the other event – the entry into the war by the United States –…

The Canadian who helped tame America’s Wild West

Born in Quebec, Bat Masterson set out to find adventure on America's frontier – and he found plenty, etching his name and deeds in the history books

It was through the cinema of my childhood that I first heard of Bat Masterson. But it wasn’t until I read Tom Clavin’s new book, Dodge City, that I realized Masterson was Canadian. Or at least he was by birth. Masterson entered this world in Henryville, Que., on Nov. 26, 1853, as the second of…

Radical Jack and the birth of modern Canada

Spare a thought for Lord Durham, an unlikely Englishman who played a significant role in the events leading up to Confederation

Radical Jack and the birth of modern CanadaAs we anticipate Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations this summer, spare a thought for an unlikely Englishman who played a role in the events leading up to Confederation. John George Lambton, Earl of Durham, may have spent less than six months on Canadian soil but he left his mark. Sometimes known as Radical Jack and typically referred…

Donald Trump’s NATO heresy was shared by Pierre Trudeau

If progressives like Trudeau have often been less than enamoured of NATO, why is everyone so alarmed about Trump’s possible apostasy?

Donald Trump’s NATO heresy was shared by Pierre TrudeauAs U.S. President Donald Trump shakes up the existing order, the ripples are causing substantial discomfort beyond American shores. Will he, for example, walk away from the decades-long American commitment to collective defence under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Canada has a long NATO history. But despite our current dismay with Trump,…

Canadian citizenship is only 70 years old

Until 1947, Canadians were still considered British subjects, albeit living in an independent, self-governing country

Canadian citizenship is only 70 years oldIt may come as a surprise but Canadian citizenship is just 70 years old. After passing Parliament on June 27, 1946, the Canadian Citizenship Act came into effect on Jan. 1, 1947. The first citizenship ceremony, during which 26 individuals received their certificates, took place in Ottawa two days later. Although the concept of a…

Pierre Trudeau and Canada’s October Crisis

Invoking the War Measures Act was an iconic moment in the former prime minister's career, but was it just authoritarian posturing?

Pierre Trudeau and Canada’s October CrisisIt was an iconic and defining moment in Pierre Trudeau’s political career. Confronted by CBC reporter Tim Ralfe about the presence of soldiers on Ottawa’s streets in the autumn of 1970, Trudeau gave no quarter. Ralfe’s questioning about the prime minister’s decision to deploy the military was persistent and pointed: “How far would you go…

Putting to rest a Fenian rebellion fantasy

Folklore and reality clash when it comes to examining North America's role in quelling an Irish rebellion

Putting to rest a Fenian rebellion fantasyWhen I was a child in Dublin, a popular patriotic ballad began with the line “Deep in Canadian woods we’ve met, from one bright island flown.” No, it wasn’t about the joys of being a lumberjack – it was a celebration of the failed 1866 Fenian invasion of Canada. The Fenians, you see, were folk…

St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t always as benign as it is today

Toronto’s St. Patrick’s Day riot of 1858 began when an Orangeman used his horse-drawn cab to disrupt the parade

St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t always as benign as it is todayNowadays St. Patrick’s Day is thought of as a social occasion characterised by parades, green beer, celebration and jollity. However, that wasn’t always so. Indeed, there was a time when Toronto was prone to mark the day with a violent expression of the city’s underlying sectarian divide. Nineteenth century Toronto is often described as Anglo-Saxon,…

Canadian flag flying proud for 51 years

George Stanley, later Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, sketched the first design of the Canadian flag

Canadian flag flying proud for 51 yearsCanada's flag marks its 51st anniversary this year, but the story behind the inspiration, the origins and the design of the flag is not widely known, or appreciated. So every year around this time, I take five minutes from my economics lectures at the University of New Brunswick to tell my students how Canada’s flag came…